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Florence homeowners upset after power surges damaged appliances

Homeowners on Plum Street said they've spent thousands on new appliances because of power surges.

Posted: Jun 27, 2019 5:08 PM
Updated: Jun 27, 2019 9:03 PM

Homeowners in the Shoals are upset after they say constant power surges are causing their appliances to stop working.

Residents who live on Plum Street in Florence told WAAY 31 over the last two years, a total of three power surges have left them spending thousands of dollars to replace AC units, refrigerators and other big appliances.

"Every single one of us went down and filed a claim, and they just said they weren't going to cover it," said Stacey Hanna, who lives on Plum Street.

Hanna said back in 2017, lightning hit a transformer on Plum Street, causing a power surge on the entire neighborhood.

"It caused a massive power surge throughout this whole neighborhood, and everybody on here lost central air units, refrigerators, stoves, all kinds of appliances," said Hanna.

Then, a driver hit a utility pole at the beginning of June. According to Florence Utilities, that caused another power surge when the high voltage and low voltage lines crossed over each other.

"It caused another power surge after we had all that stuff replaced, and we lost even more stuff this last time," said Hanna.

Hanna said their insurance did cover some of the cost, but not all. Then, they had yet another power surge Thursday morning.

"Yesterday, we just had our central unit replaced and there was another power surge this morning and it knocked out our central air unit, both our air units. We have two and it knocked them both out," said Hanna.

Hanna said he's frustrated because this continues to be a problem, and they've spent thousands of dollars replacing appliances. He said they've filed complaints with the city, but each complaint for reimbursement was denied.

"Well, the one on June 7th, we called to file a complaint and they said because the gentleman hit the telephone pole, they weren't at fault," said Hanna.

The city said it denied the claims because they were not negligent in any of the incidents. They city said the age of a transformer doesn't matter, because nothing can stop the power of lightning. The city said it can't be at fault when high voltage lines cross either.

"The problem is those transformers are supposed to have surge protectors on the transformer, and that one is so old," said Hanna. "I know power surges will happen, but there is supposed to be some protection from that. That's what the transformer's job is, ya know?"

The Florence Utility Department told WAAY 31 they plan on replacing the transformer on Plum Street, but said even if there was a new one in place, it wouldn't have stopped the power surges from happening.

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